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Posts tagged “fort collins

þetta réddast

While enjoying a ridiculous amount of smoked trout at Vogafjós (literally “Creek Cowshed”; a restaurant on the eastern shore of Lake Myvatn that is actually inside a cowshed with the cows) I first heard the Icelandic phrase þetta réddast. More of a mentality or life philosophy than a saying, there are many different English language interpretations. I was told at the time that it was “We will get there.” Most people translate it as “Don’t worry. It will all work out okay.” It is a common phrase that is applied casually. Running late? þetta réddast. Not prepared? þetta réddast. And while it is best to keep a positive attitude and not worry about things that it is too late to fix I feel like this undersells the wisdom of the phrase to Americans who are driven by success and define success as hard work + precision. It comes across like ((*oh horror*)) they’re not even trying!

That is why I liked the way my guide, Gunnar, defined it- We will get there. Like, eventually, everything will work it’s way out. Because that is true and that is what people so often lose sight of. A life philosophy is not an excuse you keep using because you are chronically incapable, so that is not what is meant when they say this. A life philosophy is something that is applied to life. Not just your life, all life. As long as there has been life and as long as life continues. It is a very broad and very high. It is elevated thinking. It is “the big picture.” And while it is not just your life, it certainly includes and is reflected in your life. There is a point on the universal time scale where everything bad is brought to nothing (Christians call this “Armageddon”)  and only good can flourish (“judgement day”). It is not right now. We will get there. The problems of today are so short they hardly factor in but if you base your happiness on short term goals you will always be worrying. It is true that life is what you make it, but that does not mean that you are in control of your life, that it is something to fret over and fine tune. We can’t completely control everything. Time and circumstances have an ever changing tide. Happiness isn’t something we can get completely by our own effort- its not money, its not pleasures, its not a job well done. Happiness is having hope.

The knowledge that everything will work out brings a small measure of freedom. Freedom to make mistakes. Freedom to be too generous. Freedom to love people just because they need it. Freedom to live consciously in every moment instead of thinking about the things you have to get done. Freedom to be optimistic. Freedom to have a great time even if times aren’t so great. Freedom to see beyond your suffering.

When you can see the whole picture you have a clear view. Don’t cloud your life with the worry that comes from uncertainty. Seek truth. þetta réddast.

Aerial view of interior Iceland via flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri


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Aerial view of Greenland


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Silent Reflections

Essay from a photo writing prompt by Harpa and the Icelandic Writers Retreat. View the photo and read other essays here.

Stepping softly
from the sidewalk across the breadth to the back,
the wood floor holds the reticent reverberations of yesterdays music while outside
ancient,
gray
ripples
meet basalt blocks unheard.
Arctic sunlight collects on the comb of windows encasing the space
until dissected by one large looking glass
set forth between beams
outstretched,
framing the North Atlantic like victorious arms.
Symmetry.
Safflower skies reflecting on silica and seawater.
A mirrored plane plunges toward water, reflecting the harbor in its face.

Reflection-
a bending back-
Middle English.
Harpa holds the heritage of the people and houses the spirit of a culture,
the compilation of all time, hundreds of years, magmatic, covering and building on each other to create each present. Yet each concert is but a
breaker
in the waters of time, while in
every
singular
moment
its structure stands it publishes Iceland’s biography;
its framework arranged to feature and flaunt the landscape of the sea.
The islands human history was born here,
is here,
as ancestral waves go out
and come again,
retreating
only to bend back
carrying the voices of vikings,
the trill of fishing vessels,
the whisper of sagas,
the echoes of centuries,
like a low, soothing sound barely beneath our perception.

We stand in a building just to the left of a dreamboat silhouette-
but is it left?
The hand we choose depends on whence we came.
We enter from the city
but from where did we enter the city?
We stand in a building just to the right of a dreamboat silhouette,
between the Sun Voyager and its golden destination, the journey shining through panels of glittering glass.
Having stepped softly from the sidewalk we crossed the breadth to reach the front.
The front-
sitting on the threshold of an ocean gazing through the glass for its children,
taciturn,
listening,
reflecting.
I gaze back in silent reverie,
listening,
reflecting,
overlooking half the fatherland.


My favorite photos from the capital city of Reykjavik, Iceland featuring Harpa Concert Hall, the Sun Voyager, and the North Atlantic Ocean.

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Symphony of Infinitude- Aurora Borealis

Nothing more wonderfully beautiful can exist than the arctic night. It is a dreamland, painted in the imagination’s most delicate tints; it’s colour etherealised. One shade melts into the other, so that you cannot tell where one shade ends and the other begins, and yet they are all there. No forms- it is all faint, dreamy colour music, a far away, long-drawn-out melody on muted strings. Is not all life’s beauty high, and delicate, and pure like this night?

Fridtjof Nansen, Farthest North

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Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the arctic night is the northern lights, the great Aurora Borealis. Described by the great arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen as “harp music, wildly storming in the darkness.. and again, at times, it is like soft-playing, gently-rocking, silvery waves, on which dreams travel into unknown worlds” the glory of the aurora never fails to inspire awe, emotion, deep thoughts and deeper questions. Captain Robert Falcon Scott echoed this thought in his journal-

There is infinite suggestion in this phenomenon, and in that lies its charm; the suggestion of life, form, colour, and movement never less than evanescent, mysterious, -no reality. (Scott’s Last Expedition)

We were leaving the airport with a man who told us he had grown up in Minnesota and watched the northern lights as a child. Then, as if to sum up all his conclusions on the matter, he said, “makes you realize we’re not alone out there” making quite plain that he was referring to God. That is what the aurora does, plucks the chords of human spirituality within each of us in a way that one cannot easily escape from.

aurora 1

aurora 2

Under the inspiration of the aurora’s “glittering cloak” Fridtjof Nansen wrote-

I have never been able to grasp the fact that this earth will someday be spent and desolate and empty. To what end, in that case, all this beauty, with not a creature to rejoice in it?

Had he been a Bible reader he no doubt would have taken comfort in the fact recorded at Isaiah 45:18 that the earth was created, not for nothing, but to be inhabited. Or Psalm 37:29 that says that “the righteous will posses the earth, and live forever upon it.” No, the earth and it’s beauty will not be spent, it will not become desolate nor empty. The earth is our inheritance and it’s creature will rejoice in it forever. If you haven’t come to know this from the book of scriptures this fact will be imparted to you through the book of creation like it was for Nansen.

aurora 3

I put the rest of my pictures of Aurora Borealis here, on their very own page.


Snowflake

Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes – every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man.” Orison Swett Marden

Snowflakes


Eternal Summer

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.  Celia Thaxter

People liken the heart to many things-

An open book.

A fortress.

A lion.

A stereo.

An ocean. Inside of a bigger ocean.

I don’t think my heart is any of those things. I think its more like a greenhouse. A greenhouse with a carefully curated collection of curiosities. Because that’s the thing about life, a lot of things happen, a lot of things surround us, and a lot of things pass by us but only the things that we allow can pass through us and we carry with us only what we choose. Whatever plant you want can grow in a greenhouse despite the atmospheric and geologic conditions of the area. Whoever we want to become can grow in our heart. Whatever we want to love can live in our heart. We set the conditions. In a greenhouse there is summer in the depths of winter, in our hearts hope in the depths of desolation.

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”  Albert Camus, The Stranger

A greenhouse promotes growth and fills itself with life. Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all things that you guard, safeguard your heart, for out of it are the sources of life.” If you don’t like something that has taken root in there, remove it. You don’t have to let it stay just because its always been there or because its in everyone else’s. Bring in what you value. Your life is either your problem or your blessing but either way it’s up to you. Choose to make positive growth. Plant gratefulness to have that eternal summer within you. Keep bringing in love to nourish your treasures. Its a continuous work and a continuous pleasure. The outside world whispers “If I just had ____ my life would be complete.” But what is a complete life? Everyday adds something new, each morning light brings fresh opportunity, everyone you meet is a brand new world. Why would you desire your life to come to completion? Complete is a beginning, middle, and end; and yet my heart preserves me. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says of the creator, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has even put eternity in their heart; yet mankind will never find out the work that the true God has make from start to finish.” Human life was created to be indefinite, human hearts reach out for eternity. And even after all the time in the world we will still never know all there is and never experience all that can be. Our purpose is growth, my heart is fertile.

stones

metallic

berry

poky

vibrance

orchid

beads

soft

crystal eye


Winter is Coming

Spring roses bow their heads to death

drooping

Leaves dry up and return to the earth

decay

Autumn is the massacre

a colorful array of dwindling life

like and army cutting a way for winter

season of frozen hearts

silence.

 

leaves

sisters

Rosebud

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Droplets

rose

pinkrose

leaves

Rosebud


Standing Too Close

Great minds are related to the brief span of time during which they live as great buildings are to a little square in which they stand: you cannot see them in all their magnitude because you are standing too close to them.

Arthur Schopenhauer

I decided that I’m tired of standing too close to stuff and not really looking at it. Sometimes I think that the bigger something is, the less noticeable it is. Like the other day I was at the grocery store Sprouts and I bought some toothpaste or something and the person ringing it up put in some special code for our extra 25% off and we were like “What’s that for?” and they said they were having all their health and beauty stuff on sale, and then I looked over and saw a gigantic banner hanging over the entire section of the store that said extra 25% off in huge letters. It was like the most obvious thing in the store but none of us saw it.

So I’m going in all the places that I see but don’t think about because there’s got to be something important in there or they wouldn’t have bothered to build, right? Right. Same goes for people too, if each individual wasn’t important then why would they be here? We might not live long enough to truly appreciate someone but it’s the kind of project that is best just to go ahead start on even if it goes unfinished. We should never be so close to someone that we can’t appreciate them fully.

Some pictures of places and their squares-

doorway

grayscale

linear

reflect

ivy

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containers

phone booth

skylight

bars

row


Fort Collins Water Works

The Fort Collins Water Works was built in the early 1880s as a new way to deliver water into the town. It originally had metal shingles but they were replaced when the roof got redone in the 1990s, so does that mean that the roof lasted over a hundred years? Because we should all do metal shingles if that is the case. We should all do a picnic too, that’s what it makes me think because its in a real old, pretty spot in Laporte that just screams bike rides and picnics, which are always good things to do no matter where you choose to do them at. I would suggest some crusty french loaves, an assortment of cheeses and spreads, and a red wine. Maybe you could tour Ten Bears Winery in Laporte, I’ve never been there but local wine is usually a good idea. You should make little apple hand pies for picnics which is just a lovely idea because the waterworks has an “ancient apple orchard” so you’d fit with the theme. I thought of it because I saw this article on NPR (including a recipe) the other day and I never forget anything I read about food because, well, why would I? Food is delicious.

If you were hoping to read more about the actual waterworks here is their website. It is a pretty interesting place even if you are not that interested in water and really just like to look at old, crumbly stuff.

Waterworks

brick

roof

cavatie

illuminated

Grounds

pillars

skull

pepsi


Sunset at the Bellevue Dome

When I bought my farm, I did not know what a bargain I had in the bluebirds, daffodils and thrushes; as little did I know what sublime mornings and sunsets I was buying.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

They took down their road blocks and let us back in today. We had heard that they had slurried all the houses so they were all still standing even though the fire had burned through to the other side of the street, this turned out not to be true, there was no evidence of anything burnt on our side of the road, much less the other side which is further away from the fire. Didn’t see any slurry either.

Everything was lush and green against the soft, smoky haze, so peaceful, so at ease you wouldn’t guess it had just been threatened so vehemently. Deep green corn shoots quietly growing in perfect rows, spotted cattle quietly grazing against the golden backdrop of the Bellevue dome, little houses, perhaps still empty, waiting quietly on small, sage hills, the soft sun setting behind smoke and silver lining.

Our dear friends on the other side of the dome let us climb up to survey the area and watch the sunset. From that lofty vantage point we could truly appreciate the splendor of the valley and be filled with gratitude for its preservation.

For those of you out there dying to know about Morning Fresh Dairy, that is it on the right hand side, if you can’t tell that dirt patch is filled with cows. Nothing is burnt, everything looks fine. I don’t know if they got evacuated but I would think that they did since everyone else on the road did…

Some people are being let back in while others have received pre evacuation notices so this is far from over. As of right now the fire is at 46,820 acres and only 10 percent contained with extreme growth potential. There is about 1,263 people working on this, including the national guard. Rumor has it that there isn’t anything we can do except try to keep it from spreading while waiting for it to burn itself out, this could take months.


High Park Fire

A crimson sun shines though choking brown plumes like the strength of the 250 emergency personnel below it. The western wind, strong and unyielding, drags the heavy smoke up the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, through Wyoming, Nebraska, and into South Dakota while pushing the fire from the steep canyon walls toward the grassy pastures of Bellevue. What was just yesterday a small fire in the mountains, 200 acres lit from the lightning of the rain storm that so many had prayed for, has grown to 20,000 acres devouring homes and outbuildings, burning the dairy behind us and lapping at our western border. Police Cruisers lights dance behind the quiet haze against a backdrop of gray and rust saving people from seeing their property suffocating and singed. For so many there is no going home tonight, for some there will be no going home.

My junior high school has always served as the evacuation center for fires like this, except there hasn’t ever been a fire like this before. The air is too thick to inhale and the evacuees as being relocated another 20 miles away in Loveland, CO to be with their animals. Experienced fire fighters call the growth of this fire ‘incredible,’ most fires rest at night with the cooler temperatures but satellite data indicate that this fire doubled in sized and ran 6 miles.

This first set of picture were taken at Terry Lake north of Fort Collins as Highway 287 curves west toward the mountains.

These next two were taken on Bingham Hill, looking north west into the affected areas that are cut off by police blockade. As you can see the fire has come out of the mountains and is moving across the foothills.

This last set was taken north east of the fire in the range-lands of north taft hill road, north of the now closed highway 287. This is the same area that I shot the pictures from my first post, looks a lot different now!

If you have sharp eyes you can see a firefighting helicopter heading into the fire in this last photograph. As of yet we have eight 20-person crews and other firefighters on scene . Air resources on scene include: 5 Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT); 2 Type 1 Helitankers; 2 Type 3 Helicopters; 3 Heavy Air Tankers; Air Attack; and Lead Plane. Approximately 15 engines are on scene. A Type 1 Management Team has been ordered and are expected to take over management Monday morning. Additional ground, air, and engines have been ordered.